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Autism Services Guide

Aspire Child & Family Services provides comprehensive Autism services for children.

From diagnosis in our clinic through assessment and treatment, our clinical experts are ready to work with clients to help them reach their full potential. Our Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) department serves children under the age of 21.

Our IBHS division offers support in the home, school, and community.

 

WHAT IS APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS? 

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based intervention that is individualized and based on the science of learning and behavior. ABA helps us to understand why behavior occurs and how the environment affects the behavior of individuals. It refers to a set of principles that focus on increasing adaptive skills and decreasing maladaptive behavior.

 

HOW DOES ABA WORK? 

Applied Behavior Analysis involves many techniques for understanding and changing behaviors through direct observation, data collection, and assessment.

 

1} Interventions are adapted to meet the unique needs of each individual.

2} Teaches skills that are useful in everyday life and settings: Communication with others, dressing, play skills, building independence, self-management.

3} Interventions work to decrease problem behavior: Self-injury, aggression, property destruction.

 

ABA TECHNIQUES AND PHILOSOPHY

Comprehensive interventions address a wide variety of skill acquisition needs in conjunction with addressing any barriers to learning or problem behavior. These may include challenging behavior such as aggression, attending issues, or noncompliance.

 

Focused interventions address a specific need, such as toileting and social skills.

 

The learner will have opportunities to learn and practice skills each day. Learning opportunities may be both planned by the clinical team or naturally occurring, such as someone learning to greet others by saying “hello”. The learner may get the chance to practice this skill in the classroom with their teacher (planned) and on the playground at recess (naturally occurring).

 

ABA is effective for people of all ages. It can be used from early childhood through adulthood.

1. Diagnosis

The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) is an assessment tool used to diagnose Pervasive Developmental Disorders, including ASD. The ADOS assesses communication, social interaction, and play using a variety of assessment materials (e.g. toys).

 

The assessment takes about 30-45 minutes during which the client is engaging in a variety of activities with a clinician. The clinician collects data on the client’s behavior and uses an algorithm to determine the presence of any developmental delays.

 

  • • Referrals for parents: support groups, counseling
  • • Resources for newly diagnosed families: links to information on ASD

 

2. Referrals

Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS)
A parent, legal guardian, or child over the age of 14 may refer or be referred for an evaluation to determine the most appropriate level of behavioral treatment needed (see Evaluation). All clients will go through a screening and information gathering session, usually by phone. If deemed appropriate through the screening process, the client will be scheduled for a Biopsychosocial Evaluation to be completed with a Licensed Mental Health Professional (i.e., Licensed Psychologist).

Resources
What types of behavioral challenges can IBHS assist with?

Skill Deficits

Social skills:
This may include working on responding to name, learning and attending to social cues, making and maintaining friendships, etc.
Communication skills:
This may include vocal communication or other forms of communication such as PECS boards, American Sign Language, etc.
Self-care skills This may include learning independent hair care, bathing, toothbrushing, and other aspects of morning and nighttime routines.
Toileting Toilet training is a tough skill to teach, especially as children get older and it begins to affect other areas of their lives. ABA has a wide range of empirical research on the most effective ways to toilet train.
School skills Behavior therapy can assist in improving your child’s ability to function at their highest capacity in a learning environment. By working closely alongside the student’s teacher, behavior therapists can help design different Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs) that can help the student to stay on-task and attentive in the classroom setting.
Challenging Behavior Noncompliance Tantrums Aggression Disruptions Self-injurious behavior
What type of services are right for your family? IBHS-ABA (link to other IBHS tab here) In home: Your child is presenting significant difficulties at home. This may be in the form of challenging behavior or skill deficits. You are looking for help in learning new ways to help your child be successful in these areas. In school/Daycare/preschool/aftercare: Your child is presenting significant difficulties at school. This may be in the form of challenging behavior or skill deficits. You and the school staff are looking for help in learning new ways to help your child be successful in these areas.
Other Your child is struggling with their mental health or other non-behavioral disorder and would benefit from counseling or family therapy.
Estimated Timeline: Insurance Verification — a week CBE/CBR (if needed) — 2–3 weeks Insurance Authorization — 2 weeks Assessment — 4–10 weeks Staffing of services — up to 4 weeks, depending on availability

3. Evaluations

If the client is deemed through the screening process to be a candidate for IBHS, a Written Order will be scheduled and conducted by a Licensed Mental Health Professional (i.e., Licensed Psychologist). The results of this evaluation will determine the level of services/support needed for the individual to reach their fullest potential. The assessment is conducted face-to-face with the individual and involves a variety of methods to collect information (e.g., interviews, records reviews, etc.). The goal of the evaluation is to determine levels of services/support while ensuring a least restrictive environment; therefore, referrals may be made to receive IBHS or another treatment (e.g., outpatient therapy, residential treatment facility, etc.).

A written order is updated annually to determine the appropriateness of services. Reevaluations occur every 6 months to update assessment results, services, and treatment goals.


  • What to expect during the assessment phase:
The first 3-6 weeks that your child is admitted to our program is considered the assessment phase. During this time period, a behavior specialist will be conducting a multitude of assessments that will inform their recommendations for your family. These may include, but are not limited to, interviews, direct observations, and telehealth visits (described further below).
  • Need for services with challenging behavior = Functional Behavior Assessment
    • Informal interviews: open ended discussions with caregivers, school staff, and any other relevant informant on the types of challenging behaviors that the child is exhibiting, when they are occurring, and how often they are occurring.

      • May take between 10 minutes and 1 hour.
    • Rating Scales: formalized questionnaires with caregivers, school staff, and any other relevant informant to gather more specific information on challenging behavior.
      • May take between 10-30 minutes.
    • Direct Observation: naturalistic observations in person or over video chat to determine in real time the environmental variables that may be affecting the challenging behavior.
      • Typically scheduled for 1-3 hours at a time.
  • Need for services with skills (ADL, social, verbal, etc)
    • VB-MAPP
    • AFLS
    • Transition Assessments
    • Etc.
  • Treatment recommendations are based on assessment results:
    • Treatment goals: specific timelines for achievement of various goals.
    • Evidence-based interventions: based on scientific research and determined based on various assessment results and skill levels.

4. Treatment

There is no cure for ASD, but with the right provider of behavior therapy, your child can make great strides in areas of deficits. The days of ‘Autism means you can’t learn’ are behind us. Treatment can help make the symptoms of ASD manageable, improving the lives of clients and their parents.

Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS)


IBHS can also focus on mental health treatment, such as emotion regulation.  If you or your child is eligible for IBHS services, he/she will be assigned some or all of the following staff:

  1. Behavioral Consultant (BC): responsible for conducting assessments and developing a treatment or behavior support plan (BSP)  to assist both the individual and their caregivers with managing challenging behaviors and training replacement behaviors
  2. BHT: responsible for the direct implementation of the treatment plan or BSP in the home, school, and community settings
  3. Mobile Therapist (MT): mental health clinician responsible for working with the client, and his/her family, by discussing emotions,conflict, etc.

Get in touch

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Explore Aspire CFS Services

Testing & Assessments

Suspecting autism or another disability affecting you or your child’s functioning? We offer diagnostic testing.

Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS)

We offer both home/community & school-based behavioral health services.

Autism Services

Aspire CFS provides comprehensive Autism services.